A Letter from the Artist Trust Staff

Published: November 12, 2020

Categories: Fall Campaign

2020 has been a year like no other. For Artist Trust, it brought challenges, growth, and transformation. Between the global pandemic and nationwide uprising for racial justice, we learned to embrace change, show strength in the face of uncertainty, and think deeply about what our work means in the context of a transforming world.

Thanks to the support of community members like you, we were able to support artists throughout the COVID-19 crisis, providing funding, resources, and more. We are grateful to share these highlights of this year’s work with you:

  • Funding for Artists We created the Artist Trust COVID-19 Relief Fund, raising and distributing nearly $700,000 to over 400 artists statewide facing financial crisis. Our merit-based grant-making distributed an additional $69,000. This is more funding than we’ve given to artists in a single year of our 34-year history, and we are proud of the difference we were able to make for Washington State artists and their families.
  • Responsive Programming With everyone sheltering in place and our team working remotely, we moved our professional development programming online and made our workshops free for participants. Hundreds of artists participated in workshops on how to navigate unemployment benefits, build an audience for their work virtually, and advocate for their rights as tenants in their homes and studios.
  • Anti-Racist and Community Work We answered long-time calls for deeper racial equity work at our organization and doubled down on our efforts to become a fully anti-racist organization with the creation of a new Racial Equity Committee. We developed an open board member application to remove barriers to board service and launched a series of ongoing virtual conversations to create space for community members to provide feedback about our work, with much more to come!
  • Change as the Constant As longtime staff members left our organization, we prioritized sustainability during a time of uncertainty, moving our work forward with our board leaning in and each staff member stepping up as leaders. As we look ahead, we are excited to explore what a shared leadership model might look like for Artist Trust with input from the community.

Our biggest lesson learned this year is simple: Artists are the center of our work. Artist Trust wouldn’t be where we are now without our community supporting us and pushing us to do better. It has been a challenging year, but our small but mighty team has grown so much and has made meaningful changes to our organization thanks to our community’s support. We invite you to join the Artist Trust community as we journey into a new year of artist support by donating before December 31.

There’s so much we want to do to continue to support Washington State artists through this crisis and beyond, and with your help, we know there’s nothing we can’t accomplish together.

Our very best,
Elizabeth, Gems, Justine, Kristina, Luther, Lydia, and Nadia
The Artist Trust Staff

PS – Your support of artists is more critical now than ever. Donate now and help ensure that 2021 is another year of transformative support for artists across Washington State. To make your tax-deductible donation, visit artisttrust.org.